...at least I think so. I wrote about William Rich recently, and said I was going to send away for some transcripts of marriage and death records. They arrived today. And I learnt quite a few new things!
- William Rich was not from Devon, England, but instead from Bridgwater, Somerset. His marriage record for his marriage to Lavinia Bennett neé Huxley says he was from Bridgwater. His death record says Devonshire. Considering he wasn't present at the time his death was registered I'm inclined to believe he was from Bridgwater. Unless he lied at his wedding, but we have no reason to think he might have.
- His mother's maiden name was Milton. Which is interesting, because the name of the house he lived in at Rose Bay was "Milton". And the maiden name of his first wife's mother (Susannah Maria Bindon) was Milton. Furthermore, Susannah had a lot of siblings, one of whom was named Elizabeth. Was this William Rich's mother? Evidence from the 1851 English Census suggests she was: William's sister, Avice, was staying with her uncle at the time of the census - Benjamin Milton, in St Decumans, Somerset. Susannah and Elizabeth had a brother Benjamin, and the birth dates for the brother and this Benjamin Milton match up. So it would seem that William Rich married his cousin Mary Jane Bindon.
- William was listed as a gold miner on the marriage record, though his usual residence was recorded as Sydney. So he clearly was no longer working in Peel River. On the death certificate he was listed as a farmer. Where? None of the directory listings I have found for him list an occupation. Is that what he was doing at La Perouse when his wife Lavinia was in Bondi? There are market gardens in La Perouse that have been there for about 150 years...
- The death certificate says that he was in NSW for 73 years. Considering he died aged 95 in 1927, this suggests he arrived in NSW in about 1854, when he was 22. Narrowing this down still doesn't help me work out how he got here - there's no records that I can find that match that.
- The other thing I learnt is that William Rich was buried in Waverley Cemetery. Waverley Cemetery is the only major cemetery in Sydney that I can think of which does not have a deceased search function on its website. You have to go to the actual cemetery to find out whether the person in question is buried there, and where exactly. That William is buried there also gives me a clue why I've never been able to find his wife Lavinia's burial information either - probably because she is buried there as well. Considering she died in Katoomba it doesn't seem the first place to look for her, but for the fact I now know her husband was buried there.
So now I just need to try and sort out the confusing tangle of Riches, Miltons and Bindons. It may take a while!